Compliance to PyDB API 2.0

Full text of Python Database API 2.0 (PEP 249) is available at

Unsupported Optional Features


This method is not implemented because the database engine does not support opening multiple result sets simultaneously with a single cursor.

Supported Optional Features

  • Connection.Error, Connection.ProgrammingError, etc.

    All exception classes defined by the DB API standard are exposed on the Connection objects as attributes (in addition to being available at module scope).

  • Cursor.connection

    This read-only attribute return a reference to the Connection object on which the cursor was created.

Nominally Supported Optional Features



As required by the spec, the value of this attribute is observed with respect to the fetchmany method. However, changing the value of this attribute does not make any difference in fetch efficiency because the database engine only supports fetching a single row at a time.


Although this method is present, it does nothing, as allowed by the spec.


Although this method is present, it does nothing, as allowed by the spec.

Extensions and Caveats

Firebird-driver offers a large feature set beyond the minimal requirements of the Python DB API. This section attempts to document only those features that overlap with the DB API, or are too insignificant to warrant their own subsection elsewhere.


This function supports the following optional keyword arguments in addition to those required by the spec:


For connecting to a database with a specific SQL role.


firebird.driver.connect(dsn='host:/path/database.db', user='limited_user', password='pass', role='MORE_POWERFUL_ROLE')

For explicitly specifying the character set of the connection. See Firebird Documentation for a list of available character sets, and Unicode Fields and Firebird-driver section for information on handling extended character sets with Firebird-driver.


firebird.driver.connect(dsn='host:/path/database.db', user='sysdba', password='pass', charset='UTF8')

The SQL dialect is feature for backward compatibility with Interbase® 5.5 or earlier. The default dialect is 3 (the most featureful dialect, default for Firebird). If you want to connect to legacy databases, you must explicitly set this argument’s value to 1. Dialect 2 is a transitional dialect that is normally used only during ports from IB < 6 to IB >= 6 or Firebird. See Firebird documentation for more information about SQL Dialects.


firebird.driver.connect(dsn='host:/path/database.db', user='sysdba', password='pass', dialect=1)



(read-only) The character set of the connection (set via the charset parameter of connect()). See Firebird Documentation for a list of available character sets, and Unicode Fields and Firebird-driver section for information on handling extended character sets with Firebird-driver.


This integer attribute indicates which SQL dialect the connection is using. You should not change a connection’s dialect; instead, discard the connection and establish a new one with the desired dialect. For more information, see the documentation of the sql_dialect argument of the connect function.


(read-only) The version string of the database server to which this connection is connected.


Executes a statement without caching its prepared form. The statement must not be of a type that returns a result set. In most cases (especially cases in which the same statement – perhaps a parameterized statement – is executed repeatedly), it is better to create a cursor using the connection’s cursor method, then execute the statement using one of the cursor’s execute methods.



String containing the SQL statement to execute.

commit(retaining=False) rollback(retaining=False, savepoint=None)

The commit and rollback methods accept an optional boolean parameter retaining (default False) that indicates whether the transactional context of the transaction being resolved should be recycled. For details, see the Advanced Transaction Control: Retaining Operations section of this document. The rollback method accepts an optional string parameter savepoint that causes the transaction to roll back only as far as the designated savepoint, rather than rolling back entirely. For details, see the Advanced Transaction Control: Savepoints section of this document.



Firebird-driver makes absolutely no guarantees about description except those required by the Python Database API Specification 2.0 (that is, description is either None or a sequence of 7-element sequences). Therefore, client programmers should not rely on description being an instance of a particular class or type. Firebird-driver provides several named positional constants to be used as indices into a given element of description . The contents of all description elements are defined by the DB API spec; these constants are provided merely for convenience.


Here is an example of accessing the name of the first field in the description of cursor cur:

nameOfFirstField = cur.description[0][firebird.driver.DESCRIPTION_NAME]

For more information, see the documentation of Cursor.description in the DB API Specification.


Although Cursor in Firebird-driver implement this attribute, the database engine’s own support for the determination of “rows affected”/”rows selected” is quirky. The database engine only supports the determination of rowcount for INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, and SELECT statements. When stored procedures become involved, row count figures are usually not available to the client. Determining rowcount for SELECT statements is problematic: the rowcount is reported as zero until at least one row has been fetched from the result set, and the rowcount is misreported if the result set is larger than 1302 rows. The server apparently marshals result sets internally in batches of 1302, and will misreport the rowcount for result sets larger than 1302 rows until the 1303rd row is fetched, result sets larger than 2604 rows until the 2605th row is fetched, and so on, in increments of 1302. As required by the Python DB API Spec, the rowcount attribute “is -1 in case no executeXX() has been performed on the cursor or the rowcount of the last operation is not determinable by the interface”.


This attribute is just an alias for Cursor.affected_rows property.




Firebird-driver makes absolutely no guarantees about the return value of the fetchone / fetchmany / fetchall methods except that it is a sequence indexed by field position.